WordPress community – What is your opinion on popular weight loss apps?

I’m specifically asking about healthy wage, sweat coin, and achievement. All promise to pay you for activity and weight loss.

Feel free to comment and discuss any fitness app you’ve had experience with in the past.

Back!

It’s been two years!

I’ve only worked out off and on in this timeframe. I definitely haven’t been blogging a lot. I had the domain maxedoutmuscles.co for a while through bluehost.

Once my domain expired I opted to go .com through WordPress and start the blog back up. I am missing a few posts I made on the bluehost site, but that’s ok. As I said, these things were few and far between.

I would like to introduce myself to anyone new to maxedoutmuscles. My name is Christian Boyles, I am 23 years old. I work at a factory as a supervisor, and in my off time I love to work out. My goal is to ultimately own my own gym, a MaxedOutMuscles fitness center(or maybe named something else), and dedicate my life to fitness.

I will be making an effort to post here at least three times a week. Lots of site changes are going to be made for a better viewing experience. Welcome to my page and feel free to read from any of the hundreds of posts that I have available from 2015.

A Belated Monthly Progress Report

Today is the day!  I stress this sentiment every day.  Every day is the day to make progress and record results.  Every day is another day to be the best that you can be!  To read one of my best posts that stresses that sentiment, click here.

Now, I’d like to share with you some results I have made in the gym!  I haven’t done this in a couple of months, and I was intending to make a monthly progress report.  However, the journey of a natural lifter requires perseverance and results do not always come every month.  Without further ado, I give you my (semi) monthly lifting report:

This is what I could lift 3 months ago!

This is what I could lift 3 months ago!

Legs:

I can now easily rep out 225(102 kg) on squats!  I am really proud of that and I can quickly becoming strong enough to do 275 as a one rep max.  I am hoping to achieve that weight soon so I can set my next SMART GOAL for 315.

I don’t quite know the weight conversion but I can now max out all of the leg machines and I am using the leg press where I typically throw on a lot of plates.  Today I put 360 lbs(163 kg) on the leg press and went for reps.  I had a good time working my legs this Sunday afternoon and I am happy to share those results!

Back and Biceps:

As I’ve said some new personal records on leg day, I also set some new records on back and bicep day.

Yesterday was my back and bicep day, and I managed to lift heavier on my deadlift than ever before!  I did 315 lbs(142 kg) for EIGHT reps.  I didn’t attempt to go higher because usually I can only do three reps at that weight.  I was tremendously proud and surprised that I could do so much more!  (ALSO, A LITTLE DISCLAIMER:  I count deadlifts as a main workout on back day because they work every muscle on your posterior chain.  You could count them as a leg workout or a back workout, or even a shoulder workout because they work almost every muscle in your body)

I immediately went on to do bent over rows and knocked out 185 lbs fairly easily.  I did some shoulder presses with 55 lb dumb bells and managed to get about six good reps.

Keep in mine that the bicep work I am about to talk about is all dumbbell work and not with a barbell as in the picture above.  My barbell curls are about 80 lbs now.  When I went on to my biceps, I managed to get about eight strict curls on each arm with 40 lbs.  When I did restricted curls, I only aimed for 30 lbs and did them nice and slow to get really feel that burn! 🙂

Chest and Triceps:

Here is where we hit all my plateaus!  I am only getting slightly stronger in this group, but some of my reps are feeling less forced so I am assuming that I am near the end of this long plateau.  I am only at 185 lbs (83 kg) on bench press and struggling to get four reps, and that’s where I’ve been for months now.

I am under the impression that it’s an easy fix, though!  I feel like I have neglected some tricep work and that is why my bench press and (other) tricep related exercises are lacking.  I have been hitting them hard and, as I said, the reps feel less forced.  I am almost to the point of maxing out my local gym’s chest fly machine and I feel that, when my triceps catch up, I’ll be able to do a lot more weight in all my other chest-tricep exercises.

Conclusion:

I’ve been training hard, and sometimes I don’t see huge results while other times I see remarkable results!  As I’ve said in the past, consistency is key.  Just remember, if you work out hard for a long time you may not see the results you want…

..but if you don’t work out at all, you will see NO results!  Keep moving forward and have some MAXED OUT MUSCLES!

maxed out muscles

Adding Cardio To Help Cut Down

Sometimes you may cheat on your diet or you may be struggling to lose some extra weight, so cardio is a great method to burn off extra calories and burn fat!

A lot of people in the fitness industry have fear mongered and made people fear that they would lose muscle if they did a lot of cardio.

and that just isn’t true!  Here is a video by Elliott Hulse explaining why cardio burning muscle is a complete myth!

Health and Wellness Through Hydration and Clean Eating

If you’ve been following Maxed Out Muscles for any period of time then you probably know that I have Crohn’s Disease and that it has been the contributing factor in a lot of hospital visits.  I’ve had Crohn’s Disease since I was 15 and over the past 6 years I have learned some ways to keep the symptoms in remission.

I also answered a question from one of my readers, yesterday, about a condition she had called water diabetes.  She was wondering how she could reduce tummy fat while having the condition.  I told her the basic advice of eating healthy, weight training, and cardio.

However, we have to dig a little more in depth when it comes to our health and wellness.  I think a lot of times our problems may come from malnutrition.  From my experience, this is the case.  I also believed that this is the case for the girl who asked me the question.  Here are two things that I think are most important when it comes to diet:

Water:

Drink enough water!  If you drink a lot of soda, beer, or orange juice it doesn’t count.  Be strict with yourself to ensure that you are drinking enough water and hydrating your body.  I know this seems odd, because

How can something as simple as drinking more water actually help put a disease in remission?”

It may not by itself!  But you would be surprised how much dehydration can damage your body when you are suffering from any kind of chronic inflammatory disease.  Even if you aren’t suffering from some form of illness, studies have shown that 75% of Americans are severely dehydrated.  That’s a huge percentage of Americans.  If you have a condition that makes it easier to become dehydrated, then that is pouring gasoline on the fire.

Think of it this way:  Just like a car needs gas to run, your body needs water.  Drink plenty of water, and stay hydrated.

Eat Clean:

Last year, around this time, I had recovered from a severe Crohn’s flareup and I decided that I would try the Paleo Diet.  In no time at all my Crohn’s Disease symptoms were gone, I was shedding body fat, and I felt happier than I ever had before.  I was on top of the world!  However, it wasn’t very sustainable.  I had a few nights where I went off track, and over time I fell back into my junk food addiction and started having symptoms again.

So now that I am a year wiser and I am starting to eat clean again I have some advice for you.  Don’t fall into the trapping that I did in proclaiming some miracle diet and focusing on it so much.  There were days where I was miserable because I couldn’t have something starchy.  Just eat cleanly and perhaps as strictly as a Paleo or Vegan diet starting out and then reintroduce foods to find what works best for you.  If you can eat certain things without getting sick, more power to you.

Those are what I believe to be the only aspects of dieting and the only ideas you should really have to keep in mind while finding what works for you nutrition wise.  You can do additional research if you want to find how many calories you should be eating or what macros, but as far as illnesses go I’d say I covered it.

Now I have covered nutrition based off of my experiences with Crohn’s.  I’d like to add some other honorable mentions such as weight lifting, cardio, and maintaining your stress levels.

With a lot of sicknesses, keeping a low stress level is about as important as having a healthy diet.  Thankfully, we can branch a low stress level together with weight lifting and cardio.  For me, the gym is what relieves my stress so when I couple that with a good diet I have virtually no symptoms at all.

If that doesn’t work for you, I’d suggest also looking into some meditation and yoga.

Work on maintaining a low stress level, lift weights, do cardio, focus on diet, and find what works best for you.  We are all different and it can be easy to compare ourselves to other people.  Simply breathe, relax, and think about what is the most beneficial for you.

Remember, you can live healthy and happy!

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Write A Lot For Stronger Muscles

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By writing something every day I have found that finding something important enough to write about is often a journey that becomes incredibly introspective.  You have to dig deep inside your own head sometimes to find what it is that you want to share with others, and what is really on your mind.  You finally find it, after all of that hard thinking, and you realize each time that you are possibly gaining more from this than your audience:

  1. Self-Respect – You completed a big task today.  You got the new post up.  You worked hard on something you loved and you are actively pursuing your dreams.
  2. Yourself – this process is incredibly wrapped around your individuality and what you contribute to other people.  You find where you fit in.  You find what your passion is.  You find who YOU are.

The above is what I have learned by writing new posts for you.  The more dedicated I become, the more I realize I have further to go.  I also find how dedicated I truly am to this.  In the process, I realize that I am extremely passionate about writing and fitness.  Because of this, I’m about to explain to you how writing and working out go well together and how you can use both of them in conjunction to achieve your fitness goals:

  1. Keeping a journal – As I mentioned in my post Be Smart and Work Hard, writing in a journal or in your phone’s notepad app can be incredibly beneficial.  The reason why?  We go about our days constantly being bombarded with situations and problems.  Life can be a lot to wrap your head around so having a journal can help you categorize your thoughts and find a better plan of action.  It can also be incredibly helpful in recording your gym results.  You write down your accomplishments and then you may look back and see what you have to improve on.
  2. Re-finding your passion – Again, life can be a lot to wrap your head around sometimes.  Sometimes life just pushes us so much that we want to be lazy or complacent.  And it’s easy to be lazy or complacent, but it’s not easy to live your dreams.  However, you have to take a step each day towards being aggressive about your goals.  Do not allow yourself the comfort of settling somewhere shy of success.  A good way to prevent this is to write things out online a lot like I am here, on Maxed Out Muscles.  I look back at my old posts and where I started, and I see how far I’ve come.  I realize each time that I have a serious passion for lifting weights and becoming the best Christian Boyles.  Not only that, but the comments that some of  you leave on my posts are what often motivate me to hit the gym and work harder.
  3. Networking – Networking and writing can be two sides of the same coin now that blogging has become so popular.  When you put your voice out there in the form of a well written article you’ll find others who have the same interests and goals.  These people will often be who push you and motivate you to work harder.  It goes along well with what I said above about re-finding your passion.

Those are just three small ways that writing can help you with building your dream physique.  You can use it in a number of ways.  As I said, you could use it as a lifting journal or count your macros by writing them down.  Just, by writing out something, I am sure you will be more organized and more prone to success.

So write it down and reach your full potential in life and in the gym. 

How To Become A Lion Amongst Sheep

Today, rather than write a long post like the past few days, I want to share with you a video that has deeply inspired me.  Not only has this video inspired me, but all of this man’s videos.  Elliott Hulse is not someone that everyone will love or welcome with open arms, but the guy speaks truth!  His videos are typically driven towards young males but can be helpful for any audience and he is a man who follows his own advice.

Watch this video, and see how he cleverly uses information and ideas to help people.

Be Smart And Work Hard

The sky is the limit!

The sky is the limit!

Today was a typical day where I struggle with writer’s block and don’t really know what to write to you.   It’s been a long day(LEG DAY) and I had a lot of work.

But now work is over and it’s time to continue pursuing my dreams!

Lately this has become like a part time job for me and I honestly have to say….

I love it!  I have been putting in at least 20 hours a week trying to make this site better and deliver better content and I want to say a few things:

  1. Thank you so much! I don’t know how many times I’ve said this already, and I can’t say this is going to be the last time…..but it’s definitely worth saying.  There are so many posts I have made where I’ve received such positive feedback from you that I just have to keep trying harder.
  2. It is so great to be passionate about something.  I don’t think I can stress enough that finding what you are passionate about is one of the single greatest things you can do for yourself.  There needs to be something in your life that you love doing and that you want to pursue.  There needs to be something that gives you hope and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning; something that makes you feel like you have a purpose.
  3. Things have been taking off pretty fast and all I can do is strive to make the best content possible and continue to deliver interesting articles.  I want to be worthy of the increased traffic and love I have been given.

So without further ado, I want to share with you a list of personal self-help tips I wrote for myself on the notepad app of my iPhone.  I did these because it’s important that we all have our own set of values and goals.  I wanted to make myself follow a set plan and have a certain way of doing things to ensure I am being smart about my decisions; also, to ensure that I will work harder and harder to be successful.  Here they are:

  1. Write in a journal – Whether you like writing or not, it’s a great idea to keep a pen and paper lying around the house.  You can also use your phone’s notepad app, as I said earlier.  The main reason this is so important is because if you are writing things out you will think about them more and I guarantee it will help you place things in perspective.  Ever think about going to someone else for advice on some of your important issues?  Well, that’s helpful!  But using a journal can also be effective.  When you write those thoughts down and read them back to yourself, it’s a lot easier to self-help.  Give it a try and let me know how that goes.  I can tell you from personal experience that it works for me.
  2. Have an idealistic version of yourself – You realize you can’t be perfect?  Right, no one is perfect, but maybe there’s a better version of yourself that is a lot more preferable to you.  Strive to be that person!  Don’t give up on being the best version of you.  Work hard every day and find what your faults are, be very honest with yourself, and find ways to improve upon what you are doing wrong.  You can always make simple changes and make yourself happier, smarter, and better off;  to get started, try making SMART goals.  As you make progress on smaller goals, you’ll notice that over time you succeed at much larger goals.  Eventually, this all adds up and you may see that you changed drastically into that more positive, idealistic version you want to have of yourself.
  3. Let go of the negative people who will not help you become a better person – Ever hear someone say you are a product of your environment?  It’s mostly true.  If you constantly hang out with people who want to have bad habits, chances are that you will have bad habits.  It may be a challenge, but if you really want to be a better person then you may have to let go of people who are keeping you from your goals.  Also, I’d like to say that if you decide to let go and move on with your life that you may be surprised at all the new people you will meet who want to help you become a better version of you.
  4. Find financial stability – This is a personal challenge for me!  All of the things on this list were a challenge for me at some point, but this one takes the cake.  …literally!  I spend so much of my money on eating out and supplements that it becomes hard sometimes to save up money.  I realize that if I saved a lot more of my money that I would get out from under a lot of my debts and that would free up a lot of time for me.  I would have more time to focus on developing my website and paying for advertising!  I could spend money on something more fun than eating out also.  That is just something I am starting to get a better grip of and I’d like to share with you that it may be a big one for you also.  It may be something to take into consideration.
  5. Cut out negative feelings – So I already mentioned cutting out bad influences and taking control of your finances…So what else could possibly be so NEGATIVE!?!?  I am saying you should let go of the negative things that have happened to you in the past.  Ultimately, you have no control over what someone else did to you or what has happened to you.  You do have control over what you make of the rest of your life, however.  Take control, let go of the past, and work hard for a brighter future.  Trust me that those negative feelings will just hold you back!  Again, let go and work hard for a brighter future.
  6. Find a mentor – this one was extremely important to me.  I wanted someone who was more experienced with lifting weights and nutrition to give me advice.  I wanted to learn business from a businessman.  I want to learn from the master.  And who doesn’t?  If there is something you are passionate about, try to get involved with it as much as possible.  I did that and it’s honestly quite funny how easy it was to find someone to mentor me.  I have learned a lot from several people, in fact.  If you want to know more about finding mentors, email me at maxedoutmuscles@gmail.com or comment below!
  7. Have a busy spot – This is one that I just started to realize the other day.  I have noticed that when I work on my website in a professional setting I am at the least 100% more effective than when I work at home on my phone or laptop.  For me, my busy spot is at my second job where I’m allowed to use their desktop.  If you can find a place where you can really focus and you feel more productive, I guarantee it will help you in the long run.
  8. Fake it until you make it – Don’t allow yourself to speak negatively about your business ideas or your hopes and dreams.  Always speak positive and announce the fact that you will succeed.  This is really a simple one, but there is a lot of negative energy in the world and if you are earnest and consistent you will stand out like a sore thumb.

So those are the tips that I have personally been using as I am always thinking of ways to better myself and my content.  I hope you enjoyed the post and

I hope you can apply these tips to your life.

Using SMART Goals To Get Ripped In Three Months

Write Your SMART goals down in a journal!

Write Your SMART goals down in a journal!

SMART goals are used by businesses and smart people to set their goals in a way that makes those goals:

  1. Specific – goals are very specific and include detail of what, why, and how the goal should be accomplished.
  2. Measurable – goals should have tangible evidence of how to tell whether you’ve completed them or not.
  3. Achievable – the goals should be very possible and not impossible.  If a goal is impossible it is likely to only discourage someone.  If the goal is obtainable then the person achieving the goal may feel very proud of themselves once they finish.
  4. Results focused – there should be a clear explanation for why you’re completing the goal.  Also, there should be a definite result from completing this goal that can impact you or your work.
  5. Time bound – there should be a set date for when you need to complete this goal.  Your goal should have some urgency involved to its completion.

If you haven’t noticed yet, SMART is an acronym standing for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.

Not only are SMART goals a great way to accomplish things in your life or at your workplace, but they can also be very handy when you are wanting to make achievements at the gym.  If you haven’t read my post titled “Victory From A Goal And A Direction And Why You Can Succeed” I highly recommend you click here because that post relates very closely to what I am about to talk about with SMART goals.  Now, it’s time to explain why SMART goals are so important:

  1. They help give the driven a path to follow.  Is your mind cluttered with all sorts of ideas of what you want to do?  Then it’s good that you’re driven, but write out some SMART goals so that you can truly be successful.
  2. They raise your confidence!  When you set small, achievable goals they will eventually add up and you will realize that you have achieved a lot more than you originally thought possible.
  3. Businesses have been using them for years!  Do you want to try and reinvent the wheel or do you want to find what has worked for successful people for a long time already?  Great, I know you made the right choice.

As I said earlier, you can apply these goals to fitness the same way you can life and work.  Simply pick something and go for it!  Here I’ll show you my current SMART goals on getting ripped in three months and this will give you the framework on how to write your own SMART goals:

  1. List the goal –  My goal is to get ripped in three months!
  2. Be specific – I will achieve sub-10% body fat by February by eating at a small caloric deficit, intermittently fasting, and I am doing this because I want to feel good about my body and my health.
  3. Measurable – I will know how close I am to achieving a body fat % below ten by using a body fat caliper.  I can also track my results using measuring tape and a scale to check my weight.  There are also some clear physical attributes that will become noticeable as I obtain a lower body fat %.
  4. Achievable – The goal is very achievable.  The average person can expect to lose about two pounds of fat a week and once I am lower in body fat I know that may slow down, so I expect to lose about two to three pounds of fat a week for a while.  After those first two months, I expect to lose about a pound of fat a week resulting in that low body fat %.  Plenty of people have done this successfully; it simply takes time and dedication to a healthy and balanced diet.
  5. Results focused – The benefit of accomplishing this goal is the fact that I will feel good about myself and I will build the values and confidence to achieve more SMART goals.  As a result, when I move on towards my next goal of gaining lean muscle mass, I will have a lot more confidence in the fact that I can achieve the things I set my mind on.
  6. Time bound – The completion date that I have established is February.  This puts a lot of urgency on me and a lot of pressure even if it is attainable.  This urgency is a great thing though, because I am more likely to stick to my diet and work harder to achieve my goal in that set amount of time.

As you can see, I have a great framework for my SMART goals and I hope you decide to write some goals out for yourself.

Just use the same SMART goal rubric I taught you and do your best to achieve something because you’re smart and capable.

Victory From A Goal And A Direction And Why You Can Succeed

“I’m going to get ripped!  I’m going to get jacked!  I’m going to be huge….

The most important question I have is WHERE DO I BEGIN!?” –beginner

“Have you tried intermittent fasting?  What about dropping your carbs?  How about doing a low-fat diet?” -random gym bro 

“No, no!  Don’t listen to those suggestions!!  Just drop your calories to get ripped or raise them to gain muscles!” –a different person who works out that has different advice..

HOLD UP!!

There’s a HUGE problem with the conversation I just made above.

FIRST OF ALL, when you begin working out you are going to have a lot of questions.  However, you need to slow down for just a moment.  You need to slow down so you can congratulate yourself.  You may have a high body fat percentage or you may be extremely skinny, but you’ve made the conscious decision to better yourself.

..and that’s very admirable.

Now, I hope you’re feeling good about yourself.  You should.  Exercising and working out should be fun; after all, it’s about self-improvement and that’s something that should be congratulated.

And now it’s time to dissect this hypothetical conversation I made up at the begging of this post:

If you’re asking any of the questions I posted above, then you definitely have goals.  You have goals and you set the bar high for yourself, and that’s awesome.  If you’re like me and you asked all of these questions at once, then I’d say great but make sure you also have one other very important thing….direction. 

It’s great to have an idea of what your “dream body destination” is, and it’s great to have these goals for yourself but without direction…well, without direction you’re not going to reach your destination.  So, you’re starting to think about these two words that I’m bringing up a lot in this post:  Goals(you could say drive?) and direction.  

Your goals are what drive you.  Your goal of getting a ripped six pack or 18 inch biceps is what is driving you to do something about it.  

Your direction(s) are the planned steps you’ll take to reach your destination of the above mentioned six pack or 18 inch arms.

Now you see what was wrong with the conversation at the beginning of this post?  The beginner had a lot of great goals for his or herself but had no idea what to do about it.  They had no idea what steps to take to get there, and would take advice from just about anyone.  That’s not something to be ashamed of, because I’m sure we’ve all been there.

But if I could go back four months to when I started, I’d do this:  I’d write out my goals, my dreams, and what I want from the hard work I am willing to put in.  I’d think long and hard about what my objective is in going to the gym.  I’d spend a long time thinking about these objectives and then I’d think “Well, how am I going to do it?” 

Once I have my goals in mind, I’d pick just one.  I’d pick just one goal to start with and put everything I had into succeeding at that one objective.  I could do some small work with other activities, but there would be one goal that I would give my everything!

Let’s step back for a second and see what was said:  

“I’m going to get ripped!  I’m going to get jacked!  I’m going to be huge….

The most important question I have is WHERE DO I BEGIN!?” –beginner

Now, we know that the beginner has three different goals that are actually conflicting goals.  It will take time to achieve all three.  The people that this beginner was asking probably didn’t know this person very well, and they told him or her what worked for them personally.  That’s not bad, and there was good intention from them in doing so, but what the beginner needs is not actual advice in nutrition or exercise to start things out.

This beginner needs some help building character.

The diet is extremely important!  The exercise and lifting is important, but what this person needs the most starting out is character.  This person needs to not only have the passion and drive to achieve these goals, but he/she also needs a plan.

So as I said earlier, I’d pick one.  I’d pick one of those objectives and focus on one wholeheartedly.  Let’s say this person takes that into consideration and decides to go for that ripped, 8% body fat look.

..and so it begins!  This person has not only found the passion and the drive to achieve this goal, but also has a plan and will follow it step-by-step until they succeed.  This person will probably study work-outs and nutrition intensely.  They’ll learn a lot of things they didn’t know in the beginning.  They will find what works for them and then one day…

One day, this person will look in the mirror.  This person will look in the mirror and see cuts and striations that they didn’t have months before.  They will see that six pack abs that they were aiming for in the beginning.  They won!  That wasn’t dramatic enough…

They….WON!  THEY WON!

And it’s not like they just won in one area of their life!  Sure, it was one victory…but what about all the small victories it took to achieve that dream?  What about all the days they succeeded in building good study habits for learning about how to do it?  What about all the days they wanted to eat something that was bad for them but didn’t?  What about all the days they didn’t want to weight train but went to the gym anyways?

All of these small victories made this person more familiar with victory.  They learned discipline, study habits, and victory.

Congratulations to this person who started with nothing but a dream.  This person became a warrior who charged towards anything they wanted with the heart of a lion and took what they deserved!  They took what they wanted because they could earn it through hard work.

Also, the character values they gained from succeeding they can now take over to their next endeavor.  When this lean person decides they want to gain a substantial amount of muscle it will be a lot easier than the journey to becoming lean.

Why?  Because they now have study habits and discipline.  If they have the same passion and drive that they had to get lean, they will take that over to their next goal and succeed.

Through having that same goal-minded mentality and a clear path they will succeed, and so will I.

and so can you!

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